Today’s Feature, January 18-19: Rachel McGoye

January 19, 2008 at 1:12 am (Today's Feature)


There’s a lot to adore about Rachel McGoye. The singer/songwriter out of Stuart, Florida took on classical music training with former opera great Rita Vallis at age 16, sang competitively across the U.S. in the very respected show choir O.P.U.S. throughout high school, obtained a B.A. from the acclaimed Berklee College of Music and is as gorgeous as she is talented. But what I really admire about her is what she has to say about her latest release, “Beautiful Disaster.” She states “It takes really good music to move me, so if I can move anyone through my music, I feel accomplished. I also want fans to see that Pop music or music that can have mass appeal doesn’t have to be meaningless, or completely over produced.”

It’s always pleasing to hear an immensely gifted emerging artist comment that her work is more than just what a producer wants. The melodies have a purpose; the sounds have a mission. That’s what makes “Beautiful Disaster” stand out in the Pop universe, and the fact it was recorded in just one day. “It’s pretty much as organic as it gets,” she says, “It’s an honest album and most of all I didn’t have anyone directing me and forcing me to record my music in any certain way, which for new artists, that’s a miracle.”

Rachel is hitting the road now to support the new collection, so check out her show dates and buy your tickets. Her shows tend to be intimate, but she likes to keep the atmosphere laid back… so don’t be surprised if she says something about her armpits; The artist after all is simply keeping that balance between the seriousness of her songs and the joy of music. If you get the chance, ask about her “repeatedly stolen bicycle.” It’s a good story. The album just came out, so buy it and dive into the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Rachel McGoye

Pen’s Eye View: How and when did you first get involved with music?

Rachel McGoye: I believe it had to be in utero. My parents were huge into (good) music, so I was subjected to it ALL from the get go.

PEV: Growing up in Stuart, Florida, what kind of music were you listening to?

RM: I listened to everything from my parents record stash of Elton, Fleetwood Mac, Carole King, Van Morrison, Phil Collins, Tom Petty and then of course Pop which was Madonna, Whitney, Mariah and Mc hammer at the time.and about junior high I got really into r&b music.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

RM: I think around 16 I started to get serious about studying music. I had this urge to want to just quit school and up and move to either NY or LA, and I hadn’t ever even been to either. My parents were huge advocates of college, so I figured if I had to go, then I was going for something I loved. Music, sports and dancing were my life, but music prevailed.

PEV: What were the earlier days like for your music?

RM: When you were just starting out and getting into the music business. Well, I do believe I am still in the earlier days of my music. In five 1/2 years in LA I feel as tho I’ve just begun the dipping of my toes into the mud. It’s a very long and winding road you see. And very muddy.

PEV: What was it like the first time you stepped into a studio to record your own music?

RM: So cool. I was 18 attending Berklee. I wrote my first song ever for my boyfriend at the time who was in Florida. It was a pretty bad song looking back. But I remember when it was on a CD and I popped it in and I was like “whoa.” it was me. Pretty cool.

PEV: Tell us about your first live performance on stage. What was going through your head?

RM: I danced pretty much my whole life starting at age three. So the stage was my second home. Then going to school for performance I think can strip the first live performance experience a bit because every day you’d have to get on stage and perform in front of everyone. And be critiqued. In front of everyone. But my first official big stage, lights, the whole thing was at school and I was a background singer. I just remember thinking the whole thing was so freakin’ cool. But I would envision myself jumping of the rafters and taking the mic from the solo artist. I wanted to be in the front, not in the back. But thank god I never actually did that. But yes, almost every show I sang back up in I had that urgency.

PEV: What can people expect from a live Rachel McGoye performance?

RM: Utter entertainment and a lot of laughs for sure. Most shows I’ve done thus far have been very intimate. So I like people to feel that I’m approachable and relatable. I am a very honest performer. If my pits are sweating unusually more, I may comment on it. If I just learned a new dance move, I may ask for audience opinion. You just never know. I’m a bit of a goof ball, but I mostly write serious songs, so my live sets are fun because I get to balance it all out.

PEV: What do you want fans to take away from “Beautiful Disaster?”

RM: Most of all, I just want people to be moved. It takes really good music to move me, so if I can move anyone thru my music, I feel accomplished.

I also want fans to see that Pop music, or music that can have mass appeal doesn’t have to be meaningless, or completely over produced.

PEV: How is “Beautiful Disaster” different from other albums out today?

RM: We recorded ‘Beautiful Disaster’ 10 tracks in one day. It was pretty insane. But so amazing. I mean all these people pulled together and made it happen. Records just don’t get made that way anymore. It’s pretty much as organic as it gets. And I don’t think “organic” is a word that is often used to describe records that are made today by artists my age.

We did go back and redo some vocals and harmonies to beef it up some for radio. It’s an honest album and most of all I didn’t have anyone directing me and forcing me to record my music in any certain way, which for new artists, that’s a miracle.

PEV: How does the music on “Beautiful Disaster” different from your debut EP, “What Day is It?”?

RM: My Ep. was all acoustic where as Beautiful Disaster is a full band. People would tell me that they’d put on certain songs from the EP and just cry, or take a bath or whatever. I never really knew if that was a good thing, but I always got good feed back and I’d see them at shows, so I figured it can’t be that bad. The new album is more up beat, bob your head fun, but with the same seriousness of heartbreak and all that good stuff.

PEV: On your MySpace page, you said that “Beautiful Disaster” was inspired by “several recycled and unsuccessful relationships, and a repeatedly stolen bicycle.” Can you elaborate on that for us?

RM: Do you have five years? Well, so lets see. Apparently my judgement of men is painstakingly terrible. So I just started to Recycle. They are “Recycled Goods.” You know… the one’s that weren’t The ONE, but that also didn’t carry any emotional baggage and didn’t end badly. This was also when I was introduced to Casual. Meeting Casual gave me a whole new outlook on relationships and a whole new outlet for song writing. Before I was always writing about broken hearts, then I discovered casually broken hearts. And about the damn bike. I could write an entire book about that story. But it’s pretty self explanatory. I lived in a closet. Not really, but practically. I tried keeping my bike in my apt. but I just couldn’t muster it. So eventually I started keeping it in the back of my apt.building, locked up to a bike rack. Almost immediately the fancy lights and stuff were stolen off it and that pissed me off. so I tried keeping it back in my apt. until that made me cry of suffocation. So basically for the next several months someone(s) had been hacking away at this crazy gladiator bike lock that my dad bought for me that I made fun of. I thought, Who spends $65 on a bike lock, that’s insane?! Well, the only reason I had my bike for as long as I did is because of that fancy expensive bike lock. Eventually my tire went missing. And no kidding, a week later, I saw it on a bike parked outside someone’s door in my apt. bldg. so I went knocking door to door asking whose friend was over with a blue bike because they had my tire. Sure enough four nights later my bike tire was back. But about four months later, my entire bike went missing. I guess the bike lock wasn’t fancy and expensive enough. I pass my bike every so often a few blocks away locked up on a pole out front of an apt. bldg. This story gets even better with all the little details. Maybe I will write a book.

Anyway, there’s no song on “Beautiful Disaster” about that incident specifically, but just an over all tone of surrealness that I feel sometimes of my life in LA. (I guess I could’ve just said that and sparred you the whole bike story, but that stories’ more interesting.)

PEV: Is there an artist/band on the scene right now that you think is “on the rise” and we should all be looking out for?

RM: Uh, yeah. Pretty much half of the songwriters I’ve met in LA that should be on the radio but aren’t. I don’t think most people know how much work independent musicians actually do. A very good friend of mine, Victoria Vox, is the most admirable and talented singer/songwriters I’ve met. She’s got a new album coming out soon and she uses every thing imaginable for instruments.

PEV: How has life on the road been for you? Best and worst parts?

RM: I am just beginning my life on the road. I like getting out of the city. I like unfamiliar faces. It’s refreshing to play anywhere outside of LA because LA can taint the idea of any music scene. I don’t so much enjoy sleeping on air mattresses and I miss my bed after a while, but you gotta do what you gotta do when you’re just starting out.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Rachel McGoye?

RM: I have a huge fear of needles. It’s a problem.

PEV: When you get to relax or have some down time, what can we find you doing?

RM: I try to get to the beach or on a boat anytime I can.

PEV: How have your friends and family reacted to all your success? Are you surprised at where you are now, from where you started?

RM: I’m not surprised at all. Well, that’s not true. I definitely imagined I’d be much farther along by the time I was in my mid-twenties. But I knew I’d get there no matter what. I don’t think my friends or family are surprised at all by the blossoming success. I just think that somewhere in their heads they may think “holy shit, she’s crazy to actually pursue THAT industry.” But I’ve been blessed with a solid and consistent support system.

PEV: In all your travels (US or International), which city has been your favorite to play? Why?

RM: Well, like I said, my travels have just begun, so I don’t have any extravagances to compare. But I think I’ll always like playing in my hometown of Stuart because here I’m just me. I’ve grown up here my whole life. I’ve gone to school with everyone here since kindergarten and I’ll just always be Rachel from Jensen here. It’s nice to come back to.

PEV: When you sit down write music, what kind of environment do you surround yourself in?

RM: I’m usually at home in my pj’s or sweats. I wish I could say I have some routine but I don’t.

PEV: What one word best describes Rachel McGoye?

RM: Real.

PEV: So, what is next for Rachel McGoye?

RM: Well, right now im in Florida hanging with my parents and friends for the holidays. Im heading back to LA in a few days and from there it’s kinda of a free fall. The release of the album is a few days a way and I have no idea where that’s going to lead. I quit my day job, so I’ll be on the road a lot starting in Feb. To make sure that I never have to have another day job. Playing shows, playing shows, writing. Playing more shows.

For more information on Rachel McGoye, check out


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